London

London tour bus driver 'let go of wheel' before crash

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Media captionTour bus passenger: "There was a big bang and a piece of the bus fell on my back"

A tourist bus crash that left one man with a severed ear was caused when the driver took his hands off the wheel to look at a map, it has been revealed.

Four people were injured after the roof of a double-decker tour bus was ripped off after it hit a tree branch in central London in August 2015.

Passenger Ireneusz Luszczewski's ear was severed during the incident near Woburn Place, Bloomsbury.

Operator Golden Tours Ltd has since admitted 95% liability for the crash.

Image copyright Jason Ilagan
Image caption Four people were taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries

Mr Luszczewski's solicitors, Irwin Mitchell, found CCTV from moments before the crash, showing the bus driver holding a map with both hands instead of the steering wheel.

The 51-year-old Polish national was on holiday with his young son when the double-decker hit an overhanging tree branch.

They had been sitting together at the front of the bus, with 40 other passengers on the top deck.

Describing the crash, Mr Luszczewski said he remembered clearly "the feeling of shock and fear".

Image caption The level of damages will be assessed in court

"Not only fear for myself, but also the safety of my son", he said.

"I've been left with very serious injuries to my ear but I hope I can begin to put this incident behind me and move on with my life".

Irwin Mitchell said the admission of guilt from Golden Tours Ltd, though two years after the crash, paves the way for a settlement to Mr Luszczewski to help him overcome his "permanent and life-changing injuries".

"He was simply hoping to enjoy a pleasant sightseeing tour with his young son, but instead his holiday turned into a nightmare. We hope lessons will be learned to prevent similar incidents", lawyer Daniel Matchett said.

The level of damages for Mr Luszczewski's future medical bills and rehabilitation, as well as compensation for the crash, will be assessed in court.

Golden Tours Ltd has been contacted for a comment.

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